RSS feed Add to your Facebook page Watch us on Youtube

Activity title

Risk Based Operational Planning in Co-operative Human-Machine Battle Networks

Activity Reference



System Analysis and Studies

Security Classification




Activity type


Start date


End date



autonomous weapon systems, hybrid C4I battle networks, risk management


In contemporary multi-dimensional and networked battlefields, autonomous technologies are used to support and augment human capabilities in all domains of operation. Recent advances in robotics, human-machine interfaces, sensors and computing technology introduce the possibility to network intelligent, autonomous systems and human operators in multi-domain Battle Management Networks (Command, Control, Communications, Computer and Intelligence (C4I) networks/sensor grids). However, the incorporation of intelligent and autonomous weapon systems in complex military operations introduces both new possibilities and new types of risk, requiring a framework of risk-based planning that includes a number of different and competing risk perspectives, e.g. ethical, legal, political, technical, economical and military risks. At the same time, the increasing blurring of distinctions and compression of time in networked (hybrid) warfare challenges the classical military bureaucracies and its decision-making processes. In a recently published technical report on Risk-Based Strategic Planning (STO-TR-SAS-093, 2017), it is stated that “the security environment is becoming more complex and uncertain for NATO member countries. There is a need to improve the integration of risk-based planning throughout the various planning stages” (ibid.:xviii). Therefore, it is argued that “risk-based planning should be a key enabler to decision-making, should be integrated across domains at all levels of an organization and must become an integral part of doing business” (ibid.).


The objective of the proposed activity is to increase robustness to risks created by increasing complexity and uncertainties in the operational environment as well as risks created by the planning process itself. In strategic planning, one has the luxury of time to make a decision; how could one integrate formal risk management in the operational Observe, Orient, Decide, and Act (OODA) loops? Specifically, the activity will focus on the development of a risk-based framework for operational planning in battle management networks in general and in co-operative hybrid networks (of humans and autonomous systems/platforms) in particular. The purpose of this activity is to provide a generic format for NATO countries to integrate with and shape according to their individual operational needs, context and specifications.


- Adapting the risk-based framework for strategic planning developed in STO-TR-SAS-093 (using the ISO 31000 standard) to operational planning in hybrid network battle management - Sharing risk management and decision making methods that contribute to the objective - Developing contextual and cross disciplinary tools for risk assessment, integrating qualitative and quantitative methods - Apply the risk-based framework to a NATO member-nation’s case study - Organize a NATO Specialists Meeting on risk-based planning and hybrid network battle management in 2019

Contact Panel Office